Frederick III, Elector Palatine
Frederick III of Simmern, the Pious, Elector Palatine of the Rhine (February 14, 1515 – October 26, 1576) was a ruler from the house of Wittelsbach
The Wittelsbach family is a European royal family and a German dynasty from Bavaria.Members of the family served as Dukes, Electors and Kings of Bavaria , Counts Palatine of the Rhine , Margraves of Brandenburg , Counts of Holland, Hainaut and Zeeland , Elector-Archbishops of Cologne , Dukes of...

, branch Palatinate-Simmern
Palatinate-Simmern was one of the collateral lines of the Palatinate line of the House of Wittelsbach.The Palatinate line of the House of Wittelsbach was divided into four lines after the death of Rupert III in 1410, including the line of Palatinate-Simmern with its capital in Simmern. This line...

County of Sponheim
The County of Sponheim was an independent territory in the Holy Roman Empire which lasted from the 11th century until the early 19th century...

. He was a son of John II of Simmern
John II of Pfalz-Simmern
John II was the Count Palatine of Simmern from 1509 until 1557.John II was born in Simmern in 1492 as the eldest surviving son of John I, Count Palatine of Simmern. In 1508 he married Beatrix of Baden, daughter of Margrave Christopher I. He succeeded his father in 1509...

 and inherited the Palatinate from the childless Elector Otto-Henry, Elector Palatine (Ottheinrich) in 1559. He was a devout convert to Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

, and made Calvinism the official religion of his domain. Under his supervision the Heidelberg Catechism
Heidelberg Catechism
The Heidelberg Catechism is a Protestant confessional document taking the form of a series of questions and answers, for use in teaching Reformed Christian doctrine...

 was constructed. His support of Calvinism gave the religious sect a foothold within the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...



He was strictly educated in the Roman faith at his father's court and at Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, but, influenced by his wife, the pious princess Maria of Brandenburg
Marie of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
Marie of Brandenburg-Kulmbach was a Princess of Brandenburg-Kulmbach and by marriage Electress Palatine.- Biography :...

, whom he married in 1537, he followed the Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, and in 1546 made a public profession of his faith. He succeeded his father John II as duke of Simmern
Simmern is a town of 8,000 inhabitants in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, the district seat of the Rhein-Hunsrück-Kreis, and the seat of the like-named Verbandsgemeinde...

, May 18, 1557, and became elector February 12, 1559, on the death of Otto Henry. Under his predecessor strict Lutherans
"Gnesio-Lutherans" is a modern name for a theological party in the Lutheran Church, in opposition to the Philippists after the death of Martin Luther and before the Formula of Concord. In their own day they were called Flacians by their opponents and simply Lutherans by themselves...

 like Tilemann Heshusius
Tilemann Heshusius
Tilemann Heshusius Tilemann Heshusius Tilemann Heshusius (also Hesshus, Heßhusen, Hess Husen, Heshusen (November 3, 1527 in Wesel -- September 25, 1588 in Helmstedt) was a Gnesio-Lutheran theologian.- Life :...

, Melanchthonians, and Calvinists had found a place in the Palatinate. In the summer of 1559 bitter controversies arose among them. Theses on the Lord's Supper
Lord's Supper
The Lord's Supper may refer to:*Eucharist, Mass or Communion, a rite in Christianity*The Last Supper, the last meal Jesus of Nazareth shared with his disciples in the collection of Christian Scriptures called The Holy Bible....

 prepared by the Heidelberg
-Early history:Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, "Heidelberg Man" died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of...

 deacon Wilhelm Klebitz provoked a bitter controversy between him and Heshusius.

When efforts at mediation failed Frederick deposed both, September 16. To get a clear understanding of the controversy Frederick spent days and nights in theological studies and was thus led more and more to the Reformed confession. A disputation held in June, 1560, between the Saxon theologians Johann Stössel
Johann Stössel
Johann Stössel was a Lutheran Theologian and Reformer.-Life:...

 and Joachim Mörlin
Joachim Mörlin
Joachim Mörlin was a Lutheran theologian and an important figure in the controversies following Martin Luther's death.-Early life:...

 and the Heidelberg Pierre Boquin
Pierre Boquin
Pierre Boquin was a French Reformed Theologian who played a critical role in the Reformation of the Electoral Palatinate.- Origins and early career :...

, Thomas Erastus
Thomas Erastus
Thomas Erastus was a Swiss physician and theologian best known for a posthumously published work in which he argued that the sins of Christians should be punished by the state, and not by the church withholding the sacraments...

, and Paul Einhorn increased Frederick's dislike for the Lutheran zealots. After the Naumburg Convention (January, 1561) Frederick fully adopted the Reformed dogmas.

In March, 1561, he called Emmanuel Tremellius, and in September the famous Zacharius Ursinus, to Heidelberg. The whole Church was now transformed. Caspar Olevianus had been there since January, 1560. Images of the saints, vestments, baptismal fonts, and other "idolatrous works," even organs, were ruthlessly removed from the churches. In the celebration of the Lord's Supper the breaking of bread was introduced. The revenues from monasteries and foundations were confiscated and applied to Evangelical church purposes or charity. The Heidelberg Catechism
Heidelberg Catechism
The Heidelberg Catechism is a Protestant confessional document taking the form of a series of questions and answers, for use in teaching Reformed Christian doctrine...

, prepared a committee of theologians and ministers likely led by Ursinus, now served as the norm of doctrine and for the instruction of the youth.

The church-order of November 15, 1563, and the consistory order of 1564 consolidated the changes. The opposition of ministers inclining to Lutheranism was suppressed by their dismissal. Among the Lutherans, Frederick's measures caused a great sensation. The religious colloquy held at Maulbronn
Maulbronn is a city in the district of Enz in Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany.-History:Founded in 1838, it emerged from a settlement, built around a monastery, which belonged to the Neckar Community in the Kingdom of Württemberg. In 1886, Maulbronn officially became a German town and was an...

, April, 1564 increased the animosity. In 1565 the Emperor Maximilian
Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian II was king of Bohemia and king of the Romans from 1562, king of Hungary and Croatia from 1563, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation from 1564 until his death...

 ordered to annul the changes made. A unanimous decree of the diet held at Augsburg
Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a...

 in 1566 also demanded the abolition of the changes. Frederick, however, declared in a session of the diet, May 14, that a matter was concerned over which God alone has the rule, and if it was intended to proceed against him, he would find comfort in the promises of his Savior. The decree was not carried out.

After completing the work of reform in the Rhine Palatinate Frederick endeavored to continue it in the Upper Palatinate
Upper Palatinate
The Upper Palatinate is one of the seven administrative regions of Bavaria, Germany, located in the east of Bavaria.- History :The region took its name first in the early 16th century, because it was by the Treaty of Pavia one of the main portions of the territory of the Wittelsbach Elector...

; but here he was resisted by the zealous Lutheran estates. He continued his work of reform on the Rhine by introducing in 1570 a strict church discipline. Frederick pronounced the sentence of death on the Antitrinitarian Johann Sylvan
Johann Sylvan
Johann Sylvan was a Reformed German theologian who was executed for his heretical Antitrinitarian beliefs.-Origins and early career:...

 based on the opinion signed by Olevianus, Ursinus, and Boquin, December 23, 1572.

In 1562 he gave Frankenthal
Frankenthal is a town in southwestern Germany, in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.- History :Frankenthal was first mentioned in 772. In 1119 an Augustinian monastery was built here, the ruins of which — known, after the founder, as the Erkenbertruine — still stand today in the town...

 for a refuge to the Evangelicals driven from the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. His like-minded son Johann Casimir he sent in 1567 and again in 1576 to France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in aid of the Huguenots. In 1569 he assisted also the Count Palatine Wolfgang of Pfalz-Zweibrücken on his way to France. His last years were troubled by domestic afflictions. As his older son Louis was a strict Lutheran, he could not hope that after his death his work would be carried out in his own spirit.

Family and children

Frederick III was married twice. Firstly, he married in 1537 Marie of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
Marie of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
Marie of Brandenburg-Kulmbach was a Princess of Brandenburg-Kulmbach and by marriage Electress Palatine.- Biography :...

 (1519 – 1567), daughter of Casimir, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Casimir, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Casimir of Brandenburg-Bayreuth was Margrave of Bayreuth from 1515 to 1527.- Family background :...

 and Susanna of Bavaria
Susanna of Bavaria
Susanna of Bavaria was a German noblewoman. Born in Munich, she was the daughter of Albert IV, Duke of Bavaria, and Kunigunde of Austria, herself the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III and Eleanor of Portugal...

. Their children were:
  1. Alberta (4 April 1538 – 19 March 1553)
  2. Louis VI, Elector Palatine
    Louis VI, Elector Palatine
    In the history of the Holy Roman Empire, Louis VI, Elector Palatine was an Elector from the Palatinate-Simmern branch of the house of Wittelsbach. He was the first-born son of Frederick III, Elector Palatine and Marie of Brandenburg-Kulmbach...

     (4 July 1539 – 22 October 1583)
  3. Elisabeth
    Countess Palatine Elisabeth of Simmern-Sponheim
    Elizabeth of the Palatinate was the second wife of Duke John Frederick II of Saxony.- Life :...

     (30 June 1540 – 8 February 1594), married in 1558 to Duke Johann Frederick II of Saxony
  4. Hermann Ludwig (6 October 1541 – 1 July 1556)
  5. Johann Casimir
    Johann Casimir of Simmern
    John Casimir of the Palatinate-Simmern was a German prince and a younger son of Elector Frederick III, Count Palatine of the Rhine. A firm Calvinist, he was a leader of mercenary troops in the religious wars of the time, including the Dutch Revolt...

     (7 March 1543 – 16 January 1592)
  6. Dorothea Susanne
    Dorothea Susanne of Simmern
    Dorothea Susanne of Simmern was a princess of the Electoral Palatinate and by marriage Duchess of Saxe-Weimar.- Life :...

     (15 November 1544] – 8 April 1592), married in 1560 to John William, Duke of Saxe-Weimar
    John William, Duke of Saxe-Weimar
    John William , was a duke of Saxe-Weimar. He was also the last Duke of Saxony and Landgrave of Thuringia.He was the second son of John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony, and Sybille of Cleves....

  7. Albert (30 September 1546 – 30 April 1547)
  8. Anna Elisabeth (23 July 1549 – 20 September 1609), married:
    1. in 1569 to Landgrave Philipp II of Hesse-Rheinfels;
    2. in 1599 to Count Palatine John August of Veldenz
  9. Christof (13 June 1551 – 14 April 1574)
  10. Karl (28 December 1552 – 12 September 1555)
  11. Kunigunde Jakobäa (9 October 1556 – 26 January 1586), married in 1580 to Count John VI of Nassau-Dillenburg
    John VI of Nassau-Dillenburg
    Count John VI of Nassau-Dillenburg was a Count of Nassau in Dillenburg. Other names he had were Jan VI or Jan de Oude....

Secondly, he married in 1569 Amalia of Neuenahr
Amalia of Neuenahr
Amalia of Neuenahr was the daughter of Gumprecht of Neuenahr and Cordula of Holstein Schauenburg.Her first husband was Hendrik van Brederode, who played an important part in the events leading up to the Eighty Years' War...

 ( 1539 – 1602), but this marriage was childless.

He died in 1576, and was succeeded as Elector Palatine by his son Louis VI
Louis VI, Elector Palatine
In the history of the Holy Roman Empire, Louis VI, Elector Palatine was an Elector from the Palatinate-Simmern branch of the house of Wittelsbach. He was the first-born son of Frederick III, Elector Palatine and Marie of Brandenburg-Kulmbach...

. Frederick had carved out a territory from the Lower Palatine land dubbed "Pfalz-Lautern" for his second surviving son Johann Casimir as an enclave to enable the continued existence of the Reformed faith. Johann Casimir would serve as regent for the Electoral Palatinate upon Louis VI's death and would oversee the return of the Reformed faith to the Palatinate.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.